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Tilting at Windmills

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August 31, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE PR SURGE....Last Tuesday I wrote about the effectiveness of Gen. David Petraeus's PR efforts in support of the surge:

Petraeus has been very shrewd about providing dog-and-pony shows to as many analysts, pundits, reporters, and members of Congress as he could cram into the military jets criss-crossing the Atlantic to Baghdad on a seemingly daily basis this summer. And those dog-and-pony shows don't seem to have been subtle....He's obviously been treating the September report like a military operation, trying to generate as much good press and congressional change of heart as he possibly can in the weeks leading up to 9/11.

In the Washington Post today, Jonathan Weisman confirms the nature of Petraeus's briefings:

More than two dozen House members and senators have used the August recess to travel to Iraq in the hope of getting a firsthand view of the war ahead of commanding Gen. David H. Petraeus's progress report in two weeks on Capitol Hill. But it appears that the trips have been as much about Iraqi and U.S. officials sizing up Congress as the members of Congress sizing up the war.

Brief, choreographed and carefully controlled, the codels (short for congressional delegations) often have showed only what the Pentagon and the Bush administration have wanted the lawmakers to see. At one point, as Moran, Tauscher and Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) were heading to lunch in the fortified Green Zone, an American urgently tried to get their attention, apparently to voice concerns about the war effort, the participants said. Security whisked the man away before he could make his point.

Tauscher called it "the Green Zone fog."

"Spin City," Moran grumbled. "The Iraqis and the Americans were all singing from the same song sheet, and it was deliberately manipulated."

There's an interesting story waiting to be written about how much time and effort Petraeus has spent whipping the Army's press office and congressional liaison office into the lean, mean fighting machines they obviously are today. It's pretty clear that this was a high priority concern from the day he took over, as he planned his PR offensive to coincide with the surge itself. It'll be too late, of course, but I imagine that story will get written eventually.

Kevin Drum 12:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (99)

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Comments

If only the Generals could fight the real war as well as the PR war.

Posted by: SJW on August 31, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

They are also developing thumbnail descriptions of the delegations so spin can be targeted in a more personalized manner.
When job 1 is propaganda, they do very well indeed.

Posted by: Mike on August 31, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus has survived this long in Rumsfeld's Pentagon and the Bush Administration by being a
boot-licking yes man. It's no surprise how his
September report is being choreographed.

Posted by: jimbo on August 31, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

When I posted about Petraeus' pending trip to the hill early in the week, I called the paraded of potentates in and out of Iraq the last month the "Summer of Kabuki™"

[/blogwhoring]

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 31, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Nice finish Ke3. Your piece on this is much more effective than mine. I'm jealous.

Posted by: Armando on August 31, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

It's nothing less than surreal:

"But even such tight control could not always filter out the bizarre world inside the barricades. At one point, the three were trying to discuss the state of Iraqi security forces with Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, but the large, flat-panel television set facing the official proved to be a distraction. Rubaie was watching children's cartoons.

"When Moran asked him to turn it off, Rubaie protested with a laugh and said, "But this is my favorite television show," Moran recalled.

"Porter confirmed the incident, although he tried to paint the scene in the best light, noting that at least they had electricity.

""I don't disagree it was an odd moment, but I did take a deep breath and say, 'Wait a minute, at least they are using the latest technology, and they are monitoring the world,'" Porter said."

Posted by: junebug on August 31, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

When senators and other lying scum go to Iraq, perhaps having their air transport fired upon while taking off from Baghdad will have more influence than the Petraeus slide shows.

Posted by: Brojo on August 31, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's actually heartening to see the military doing a better job of PR, since it's a key part of the battlefield in this sort of conflict. Hopefully they're doing effective PR with the Iraqi population as well.

Posted by: TW Andrews on August 31, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

The American people are going to compare and contrast your team's allergic reaction to anything put out by the US military as a "dog and pony show" with your exuberant gullibility when offerred anything by a 43 year old "budding young journalist" with connections to the bad guys, concocting phony crimes at Haditha. I know Bush has disgraced this country. I know that the scars from this war will take a generation to clean up. But your barely suppressed glee at seeing America humbled and humiliated, even if you think it will be good for us in the long run, is not very attractive to voters you need to put you in the majority.

Posted by: minion on August 31, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, c'mon Blue Girl, isn't that a bit of a stretch? Just because some of our Reps came back singing, "Three little maids from school are we"..............

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 31, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

I also want to know why did Baird fell for this crap which is so transparent to Moran.

Posted by: Disputo on August 31, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

"I also want to know why did Baird fell for this crap which is so transparent to Moran."

Especially since Baird is a Bush Dog Democrat and Moran is a Repukeliscum.

How can a "democrat" be so easily bamboozled?

Posted by: POed Lib on August 31, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Good f-ing lawd, please let's get the f out now (from the WaPo article):

But even such tight control could not always filter out the bizarre world inside the barricades. At one point, the three were trying to discuss the state of Iraqi security forces with Iraq's national security adviser, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, but the large, flat-panel television set facing the official proved to be a distraction. Rubaie was watching children's cartoons.

When Moran asked him to turn it off, Rubaie protested with a laugh and said, "But this is my favorite television show," Moran recalled.

Posted by: Disputo on August 31, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Hold off on that Bush Dog Democrat for Baird - He has consistently voted against the war - He has not not followed the Repugs before this - In fact, one of the anti-war protestors walked out of the recent Town Hall meeting in Vancouver and was asked if this change would cause him to vote against Baird - The fellow replied that he didn't really want to confine his vote to a single issue, in that, he really liked Baird's positions on other issues helping the Democrats.

The only objection to Baird by Democrats before this, was that some enviromentalists felt he supported big timber over enriro interests.

But, this change has brought doubt to many in the Northwest.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 31, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Is Petraeus showing his visitors the mounds of dead Iraqi civilians corpses? I'll bet Joe Lieberman would love having his picture taken next to a pile of dead Arabs! Woo-hoo!

Posted by: The Holy Ghost on August 31, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

But your barely suppressed glee at seeing America humbled and humiliated, even if you think it will be good for us in the long run, is not very attractive to voters you need to put you in the majority.

What do you mean "put"? We are in the majority, moron. Get it through your thick skull -- no-one likes you and your band of pervert psycopath childfuckers anymore.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin's recent charting of the surge in actual numbers would make a great anti-surge Power Point briefing. That would sure rile the Pentagon.
Seriuosly, though, I fear the real enemy are the last riders of the apocalypse. Pestilence is becoming rampant with cholera known to be killing people and animals in the reasonably under control portions of the north. The war is now threatening vulnerable populations throughout the region. Doubt that is in the General's talking points. This war is a human catstrophe. Congress can't hide from their responsibility to ameliorate the suffering. They may need to impeach or otherwise contain this abominable administration. I think we all know the surge is nothing but a cover for doing nothing. Who thinks we can afford another $50,000,000,000? There is no longer anything to debate or discuss. I am embarrassed and sorry for America's surgin General.

Posted by: Sparko on August 31, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

'Security whisked the man away before he could make his point'. One wonders what became of him, also why our elected representatives couldn't have said 'hold on a minute, let's hear what the man has to say'.

Posted by: J on August 31, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quoted...
He's obviously been treating the September report like a military operation.

No duh. This from the Counterinsurgency manual ((link)...

1-153. Counterinsurgents often achieve the most meaningful success in garnering public support and legitimacy for the HN government with activities that do not involve killing insurgents (though, again, killing clearly will often be necessary). Arguably, the decisive battle is for the people’s minds; hence synchronizing IO with efforts along the other LLOs is critical. Every action, including uses of force, must be “wrapped in a bodyguard of information.”

The insurgencies figured this out long ago out of necessity.

Posted by: Swaggering Jingoistic RSM on August 31, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

It's actually heartening to see the military doing a better job of PR, since it's a key part of the battlefield in this sort of conflict. Hopefully they're doing effective PR with the Iraqi population as well.

If the military was doing a better job at counterinsurgency, I doubt they would need to stage manage congressional visits to this extent. The fact that they have controlled these delegations so much probably means they are hiding failures, not successes.

Posted by: SJW on August 31, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Jingo: a democracy can't wrap itself in false information. In so doing a war is already lost. The real enemy in Iraq has always been Bush's incompetence. We can point to notable successes in creating chaos and insurgents. Iraqis know thw ground truth. The Green zone briefs are designed for the inbred nobility and half-witted American media.

Posted by: Sparko on August 31, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Dan Froomkin has a whole series on Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, who has, since May, been the top American military spokesman in Baghdad. He's often the off-the-record mouthpiece showin' off evidence for Iran involvement, etc.

Bergner's covered extensively in Froomkin's July 19 column:
"... And is Bergner credible? Until recently he was a member of the White House's national security staff, holding the title of senior director for Iraq. Since taking up his new post in May, Bergner has made a series of politically charged allegations against both al Qaeda and Iran, many of which have been basically unverifiable."

So, anyway, our top military spokesman worked in Karl Rove's shop before being assigned to Baghdad and that's just another layer to "Spin City."

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on August 31, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

minion mentioned the Dog-and-Pony shows up-thread. A while back I posted about the stupidest thing I have ever seen in advance of a dignitary visit:

Visits by these self-important chumps are bad enough stateside – they prompt all manner of stupid shit be undertaken. Kids get their bikes confiscated and locked in the garage – can’t have evidence that normal kids are living in those family housing areas, after all. But the thing that sticks out in my mind as perhaps the stupidest thing I ever saw in advance of a dignitary visit was picking all the oranges off the trees on base at Davis-Monthan AFB so none could fall and litter the ground. Seriously.


Yes. Even the fruit trees were in 35-10.

Minion, you were an SP - I'm sure you could relate some similarly idiotic tales.

(Sorry about the blogwhoring - I redesigned my site and I'm rather proud of it.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 31, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

The real enemy in Iraq has always been America's belief in the use of its military power to impose the will of its despicable defense, finance, petro industries. W. Bush's 'incompetence' is a concocted theme used to assuage the guilt of the average American about what their military actually does in Iraq.

Posted by: Brojo on August 31, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

to assuage the guilt of the average American about what their military actually does in Iraq.

And pretty much everywhere else.

Posted by: Disputo on August 31, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

1-153. Counterinsurgents often achieve the most meaningful success in garnering public support and legitimacy for the HN government with activities that do not involve killing insurgents (though, again, killing clearly will often be necessary). Arguably, the decisive battle is for the people’s minds; hence synchronizing IO with efforts along the other LLOs is critical. Every action, including uses of force, must be “wrapped in a bodyguard of information.”

That's supposed to be the enemy's minds, not your own people, you moron. A democracy cannot function if the military hides the truth from the people's elected representatives behind a "bodyguard of information."

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

That's supposed to be the enemy's minds, not your own people

and your point is...?

Posted by: Disputo on August 31, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Jon Porter (R-Nev.) isn't very bright, is he?

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on August 31, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

That's supposed to be the enemy's minds, not your own people, you moron.

Actually, it is supposed to be public's minds, you idiot. Learn to f#$%-ing read already, dipshit. And you think the insurgents don't know where the real battle lies, numbnuts? It lies in the US of A, asswipe. Finally, don't confuse my understanding of the situation with my approving or disagreeing with the approach, dumbass.

Posted by: SJRSM on August 31, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: in my defense, I want everyone to understand that Bush's incompetence encompassed your list. To me, his venality and arrogance began the whole adventure. Which he prosecuted in the only way he could: disasterously. Your point is valid.

Posted by: Sparko on August 31, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Jon Porter (R-Nev.) isn't very bright, is he?

While it is not true that all Republicans are stupid people, it is generally the case that stupid people tend to be Republicans.....

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, it is also the soldiers who are being spun. According to the article, the congressional bios the Pentagon is circulating to soldiers are designed to indicate which congresscritters are for and against the war, but do not include information about which members are pushing for increased benefits for soldiers, like extending leave.

Posted by: Disputo on August 31, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, it is supposed to be public's minds, you idiot.

Yes, the enemy's public, not our own. We're a democracy, GOP efforts aside, and to function as a democracy our people need to know what's being done in their name and how successful it is.

And you think the insurgents don't know where the real battle lies, numbnuts? It lies in the US of A, asswipe. ?

Well, at least he admits it -- the GOP's main enemy is, and always has been, the American people.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Well said, BlueGirl, on that we're in total agreement. That's one of the reasons I've been so frustrated by this platatude that we don't have enough troops... if Bush and Co. would act like there's a war on and cull some of the fat marbled through statewide units we could easily free up 60 or 70 thousand fresh troops.

Posted by: minion on August 31, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus bothered me a lot (and I mean a lot) a few weeks ago when he, right on cue, began to hype al Qaeda in Iraq as the primary opponent and biggest challenge in Iraq. He was doing nothing but propagandizing for the Bush administration.

There is an overwhelming consensus among expert observers that al Qaeda cannot survive in Iraq without us, that al Qaeda is a secondary issue to the Sunni/Shia/Kurd/militias everywhere problem. Petraeus lost a lot of credibility with me.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on August 31, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

POed Lib: Especially since Baird is a Bush Dog Democrat and Moran is a Repukeliscum.

Moran is a Democrat.

RSM: Finally, don't confuse my understanding of the situation with my approving or disagreeing with the approach, dumbass.

In the spectacle of how the American electorate came to turn its back on everything associated with Bush and his prosecution of this war, my favorite part is watching people like you ineptly play verbal Twister games to defend this administration while pretending to be a disinterested observer.

Hint: When it's too embarrassing to publicly admit you ever supported any of this, maintaining a chastened silence is a more dignified option for you than trying this crap.

Posted by: shortstop on August 31, 2007 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

The real war isn't in the United States, no matter how much vulgar language is used by those whose hatred for the actual people of the United States is exceeded only by their lust for the blood of foreigners. In the United States there aren't thousands of people dying every month. In the United States there isn't 20% of the population displaced. In the United States there isn't an occupying army whose failure to keep the peace for more than four years has led to untold misery. Anyone who tells you that the war is in the United States is a complete fucking moron and should be given all the respect due a mental patient smearing himself with the food on his tray.

Of course there wouldn't be an insurgency if there hadn't been an unprovoked assault on the people of Iraq carried out by people who have not the slightest concern for the welfare of those people.

We are where we are because we let jingoistic morons with no concern for national security prop up the failure in the White House by dropping bombs on brown people.

Clue to the clueless - until you realize that slaughtering native peoples has a tendency to piss them off; unleashing chaos on a people by destroying their government and their infrastructure gives them not just the right, but the obligation to throw off their occupiers, and that unprovoked aggression always undermines national security - you will continue to be an active enemy of the people of the United States.

Posted by: heavy on August 31, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, it is supposed to be public's minds, you idiot. Learn to f#$%-ing read already, dipshit.

It is supposed to be the mind of the public where you are conducting the counter-insurgency. I had assumed that the Bush regime was not, in fact, fighting a counter-insurgency military campaign against the American people, but then again SJRSPQ or Ali Blabla or whatever he's calling himself these days may believe otherwise....

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

And you think the insurgents don't know where the real battle lies, numbnuts? It lies in the US of A, asswipe. ?

We kind of disagree.

Posted by: One million dead Iraqis on August 31, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

In the spectacle of how the American electorate came to turn its back on everything associated with Bush and his prosecution of this war, my favorite part is watching people like you ineptly play verbal Twister games to defend this administration while pretending to be a disinterested observer.

I'm not defending this administration, I've said in other threads that the screwed up the post-war phase royally...it was a fiasco. I'm not disinterested, I know way too many military over there to be disinterested.

But I am interested in the truth. There is a current battle going on to define whether we are succeeding or failing over there. All sides are prepping the stage for mid-September, making sure that whatever Petraeus says, if they disagree with it, will be viewed as lies and istortions.

We will be drawing down, we can't sustain the surge. As it draws down, there will then be a second battle to figure out who is at fault (repubs or dems) when the genocide starts. The battle is already in its preliminary stages, as per Kevin's thread on Petraeus saying there will be genocide. Who disagrees with that?

It does disgust me to watch the mud flung at Petraeus now there is a chance he might not have 100% good news for the anti-war side.

Posted by: SJRSM on August 31, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

SJRSM: But I am interested in the truth.

Can't. Stop. Laughing.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

In the link to Juan Cole regarding troop fatalities, he makes the comment:

I personally find the controversy about Iraq in Washington to be bizarre. Are they really arguing about whether the situation is improving? I mean, you have the Night of the Living Dead over there. People lack potable water, cholera has broken out even in the good areas, a third of people are hungry, a doubling of the internally displaced to at least 1.1 million, and a million pilgrims dispersed just this week by militia infighting in a supposedly safe all-Shiite area. The government has all but collapsed, with even the formerly cooperative sections of the Sunni Arab political class withdrawing in a snit (much less more Sunni Arabs being brought in from the cold). The parliament hasn't actually passed any legislation to speak of and often cannot get a quorum. Corruption is endemic. The weapons we give the Iraqi army are often sold off to the insurgency. Some of our development aid goes to them, too.

Petraeus can and will spin his surge, but the bottom line is that for the Iraqis people, things in general are getting worse and have been for some time. And for Congress to buy into the spin, they are dumb and getting dumber.

Posted by: Nemo on August 31, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

As it draws down, there will then be a second battle to figure out who is at fault (repubs or dems) when the genocide starts.

Well, since it was Bush and Cheney who set this whole thing in motion, to wild applause from their supporters, by illegally attacking and invading Iraq, I'm going to go out on a limb and say...the Republicans.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

[Information operations are supposed to be aimed at] the mind of the public where you are conducting the counter-insurgency.

Yep. Wonder what John Rendon would say about that.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/8798997/the_man_who_sold_the_war

Posted by: JM on August 31, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, it's not polite to laugh. After all, someone becoming interested in the truth is important. It would have been nice if those kind of people had been interested in the truth five years ago when there wasn't much to be had regarding the threat to the United States from Iraq. But perhaps now we will see some attempt to take into consideration all of the damage done by Bush's war to the Iraqi people. Perhaps we will see some attempt to take into consideration the damage done to America's image owing to Bush's unprovoked assault on the people of Iraq. And perhaps we will solve our energy crisis with fleets of bicycle riding fish.

Posted by: heavy on August 31, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we will see some attempt to take into consideration the damage done to America's image...

Not to mention the damage done to our national security. I'd like someone, anyone, to explain to me how the war in Iraq has increased US national security.

Posted by: JM on August 31, 2007 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like someone, anyone, to explain to me how the war in Iraq has increased US national security.

By standing them up over there so we don't have to stand them up over here...no, wait, that's not it...by, um, uh, well, see, the thing is....oh hell:

DEMOCRACY WHISKY SEXY!

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

...my favorite part is watching people like you ineptly play verbal Twister games to defend this administration while pretending to be a disinterested observer.

Yes, shortstop, but did you notice RSM’S blatant implication that not only is the real war a public relations war in America, but that the American public cannot be trusted with the truth, thus, we must be fed propaganda.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on August 31, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

DEMOCRACY WHISKY SEXY!

Interestingly, that's the pick-up line that a prostitute used on me in Belgrade back in the early 80s....

Posted by: Disputo on August 31, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

"...At one point, as Moran, Tauscher and Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) were heading to lunch in the fortified Green Zone, an American urgently tried to get their attention, apparently to voice concerns about the war effort, the participants said. Security whisked the man away before he could make his point..."
---
I think there is going to be some serious darkness ahead in the next weeks, not just months. If we are trying *that* hard to contain information there *has* to be a lot of shit fixing to go down and real soon. The incident above reminds me of Solzhenitsyn discussing Maxim Gorky's visits to Stalinist prison camps in "The Gulag Archipelago". They tidied everything all up, fed people a little better ahead of time, but still someone got through and told Gorky about the atrocities. Gorky didn't do anything about it, and they killed the prisoner after he left.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on August 31, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

A military point of view on Congressmen in Iraq

Posted by: rjr on August 31, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

A military point of view on Congressmen in Iraq

That's not a military point of view, you dumbshit. Don Surber ain't in the military. His is just another wingnut point of view, one which incidentally elides the comments by the Republican in the WaPo piece. Typical wingnut BS.

Posted by: Disputo on August 31, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

little ole jim: Yes, shortstop, but did you notice RSM’S blatant implication that not only is the real war a public relations war in America, but that the American public cannot be trusted with the truth, thus, we must be fed propaganda.

Indeed I did notice that, jim, and by the way, it's nice to see you again.

RSM: There is a current battle going on to define whether we are succeeding or failing over there.

No. There's a current effort by Bushco, the GOP and complicit players in the military to pretend that unambiguous losing might really be kind of sort of getting ready to maybe someday succeed, if they can ignore the pesky demands to define what "succeed" might mean.

The rest of the country and world answered and moved on from this question long ago.

RSM tries again: As it draws down, there will then be a second battle to figure out who is at fault (repubs or dems) when the genocide starts.

You lost that battle, too, a long time ago. As with all your "battles," you remain among the few, the proud, the delusional backwashers who don't realize that for the American people, it was over and the fault correctly assigned long ago.

Posted by: shortstop on August 31, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, shortstop, but did you notice RSM’S blatant implication that not only is the real war a public relations war in America, but that the American public cannot be trusted with the truth, thus, we must be fed propaganda.
Posted by: little ole jim from red country

Speaking of distorting the truth...

The real war is a public relations war everywhere, America included. And what gets published in America gets read in Iraq and sometimes (not often enough) vice versa. I wish there were more Abu Aardvarks translating the Arab press, and more people stepping out of their echo chambers to read it.

Ask yourself what the tactical value of insurgents blowing up a market with Iraqi civilians is. That is mostly what they do these days. Blow up civilians. Why? Or IEDs. There is no tactical value in the traditional war fighting sense.

But when they happen the insurgents make sure people are there to film it and they put the stills and videos up onto the web immediately following. Why? It is all about creating a sense of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Terror. PR. This is an information battle too.

As for Petraeus spinning a web of BS to visiting congressman...again, if Petraeus says that genocide will likely follow if we leave...who is disputing that? Everything points that way. Sounds like he is speaking the truth based on the facts as they sit. Near as I can tell most people here agree with him, but just want to make sure the blame is put on Bush when it happens.

So why be angry if he is saying it when you agree with it?

Posted by: SJRSM on August 31, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: As it draws down, there will then be a second battle to figure out who is at fault (repubs or dems) when the genocide starts.

You lost that battle, too, a long time ago.

Kevin was fighting it in the Multiple Choice Quiz thread just yesterday.

Posted by: SJRSM on August 31, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

But when they happen the insurgents make sure people are there to film it and they put the stills and videos up onto the web immediately following. Why? It is all about creating a sense of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

So, in other words, the insurgents do PR work for the GOP? Because creating a sense of fear, uncertainty and doubt seems to be all Bush, Cheney, Rove et al. (Gonzales) have done in the last six years.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

So, in other words, the insurgents do PR work for the GOP? Because creating a sense of fear, uncertainty and doubt seems to be all Bush, Cheney, Rove et al. (Gonzales) have done in the last six years.
Posted by: Stefan

Yea, that goes on.

Posted by: SJRSM on August 31, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

...again, if Petraeus says that genocide will likely follow if we leave...who is disputing that? Everything points that way.

The genocide, which has already begun, began because we invaded, not because we might leave. It will happen whether or not we leave, because nothing we are doing now or can do will really be able to put a stop to it.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

But when they happen the insurgents make sure people are there to film it and they put the stills and videos up onto the web immediately following. Why? It is all about creating a sense of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Something like Shock and Awe, perhaps?

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin was fighting it in the Multiple Choice Quiz thread just yesterday.

No, in fact he wasn't. You were wandering around in that thread not getting it, as usual.

Posted by: shortstop on August 31, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Ask yourself what the tactical value of insurgents blowing up a market with Iraqi civilians is. That is mostly what they do these days. Blow up civilians. Why? Or IEDs. There is no tactical value in the traditional war fighting sense.

Do you assume that there must be "tactical value" in everything the various insurgent factions do to each other? How about revenge? How about some factions think other factions are heretics who deserve to die? But there may indeed be some guys who strap on an explosive vest just for the PR value.

I also suspect that there would be far fewer IEDs used if the insurgent factions had more advanced weaponry. It's no surprise to me that we aren't giving the Iraqi Army any Abrams tanks.

Posted by: JM on August 31, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

There must be a special circle in the Inferno reserved for those who betray their primary trust and obligation, in this case the lives and well-being of the troops, for personal aggrandizement.

It is probably too much to hope that there will be shame, opprobrium and regret in this life as well.

Posted by: clio on August 31, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Near as I can tell most people here agree with him, but just want to make sure the blame is put on Bush when it happens.

Again, near as you can tell ain't that near. You're so far behind you think you're first.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Near as I can tell most people here agree with him, but just want to make sure the blame is put on Bush when it happens.

Moreover, since the blame actually does belong to Bush, yeah, damn right I want put the blame on him. Party of personal responsibility, after all.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

The only way we can possibly 'win' overthere is by having about 3 million troops there and to be at least as brutal if not more brutal than Saddam was. But that's not really what we're about is it? Short of that, we'll be lucky if we get out without loosing another 5 - 6 thousand troops.
Thanks Mr Bush, really appreciate all you have done for our country ... you moron.

Posted by: Erika on August 31, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

From the blog Inside Iraq
All the troops in Baghdad couldn’t provide security for the residents for one day.. just one day.
And if you have read or heard about such a day believe me it didn't exist.

Even in times of curfew there were IEDs or mortars and bodies found and who knows how many killings were not reported.

It was a country hijacked by Saddam, destroyed by an invasion and dismantled by Iraqis and many others.

I wonder how many Iraqis, even ones who work in the Green Zone, the "codels" talked to? Anybody want to guess the over/under?

Posted by: TJM on August 31, 2007 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Ask yourself what the tactical value of insurgents blowing up a market with Iraqi civilians is. That is mostly what they do these days. Blow up civilians. Why? Or IEDs. There is no tactical value in the traditional war fighting sense.

Sure there's a tactical and even a strategic value. Blow up enough of the enemy civilians and the rest will get so frightened they'll run away, leaving the neighborhood/city/province etc. in the hands of you and your people. If you're a Sunni guerilla, say, in a city that's half Shia and half Sunni, and you murder enough Shia that the rest flee en masse, well then, you've won, and the city is now 100% Sunni. Mission Accomplished!

It's the fact that the military on our side can't even see this kind of blaringly obvious fact that makes me despair.....

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

RSM: Up thread I gave you a specific example of Petraeus propaganda. He was on the ABC nightly news repeating “al Qaeda” over and over again, and he directly stated that they were the primary adversaries in Iraq. This was at the exact time observers such as Josh Marshall were noting a new initiative by the Bush administration to make al Qaeda the issue. Suddenly, every attack in Iraq was al Qaeda.

It was BS of the first order, propaganda.

I understand that you probably really believe that there will be genocide in Iraq if we leave. But any discussion should be based upon evidence and facts. We will not agree to shut down Political Animal due to the wimpy proposition that the “enemy” may be listening.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on August 31, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

As we used to say, there is no tactical advantage in firing from behind trees - Come out and fight, we said - Unfortunately, one day they did.

Posted by: Spirit of Cornwallis on August 31, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Truly a shame that Rep. Jon Porter of Nevada was not still a Farmer's Agent - So many policies, life?, could have been sold for just listening and agreeing to all that BS in the Green Zone.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 31, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

The State Department is defending the basic conclusions of the GAO report. Interesting.

Posted by: shortstop on August 31, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a great article on the whose-fault-it-is battle to come.

Hugh wants to pre-emptively tag the Dems for future Sunni-v-Shia killings in the inevitable drawdown and pullback to follow. He wants a number to pin on them now in advance of Petraeus' report. The stabbed-in-the-back storyline is being pro-actively weaved.

For those who wonder what I actually think (Gregorheavy, you can stop reading here), rather than just slapping your one-size-fits-all ditto head label on me, Thomas Barnett gets it close more often that not. I'm also a Tom Friedman fan. Tom Rick's book Fiasco nails it. I like Barack Obama's view of the US of A's place in the world. I really like James Webb, but don't think he really fits in with the Dems. Incompetence by the repubs drove him that way. I think McCain is a great man.

Posted by: SJRSM on August 31, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone who would breath Obama's name in between that of Friedman and McCain is obviously a HRC supporter....

Posted by: Disputo on August 31, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a great article on the whose-fault-it-is battle to come.

And here's a great article on the pony to be delivered to my house tonight.

What? You mean it doesn't work to keep sticking my fingers in my ears when people tell me to knock off the wishful thinking? LA LA LA LA LA LA! Pony delivery to come! Pony delivery to come!

Posted by: shortstop on August 31, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'm also a Tom Friedman fan.

Can't. Stop. Laughing.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't the most important thing, that General P. will not be providing the report directly, but it is controlled by the White House?

Posted by: Neil B. on August 31, 2007 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Can't. Stop. Laughing.

Well, why wouldn't he be? Every six-month unit is another chance for Jingo to get it wrong.

Look, Mike, as has been explained to you (sorry that having your ears plugged by Bush's and Petraeus' respective pee-pees made it hard for you to take it in), the mere act of churning up laughable spin does not a "battle" make. If every winger talk-show host, military PR unit and blogger starts asking whether the earth might be flat, gravity might be an illusion and grass might be pink, that doesn't suddenly make these subjects of legitimate debate.

It makes you guys desperate and sad and unwilling to face up to your heinous mistakes and their consequences.

Posted by: shortstop on August 31, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Mike, as has been explained to you...If every winger talk-show host, military PR unit and blogger starts asking whether the earth might be flat, gravity might be an illusion and grass might be pink, that doesn't suddenly make these subjects of legitimate debate.

Look, Shortstop, you live here in an echo chamber, and what you take as chiseled in stone gospel will be in play come time for the genocide. The real one that makes this ongoing stuff look trivial. If it comes. It may not come, which would be great.

But if it comes, poo is going to be flung. And some of it is going to stick in the eyes of some voters. Whether you like it or not. I predict the accusations and counter-accusations will fly.

It makes you guys desperate and sad and unwilling to face up to your heinous mistakes and their consequences.

Did you read Barnett's article? I agree with him.

Actually, you're acting just like Hugh Hewitt in his article. You're mistaking my observation that this debate will occur with my supporting of it. You have much in common, tactics-wise.

Posted by: SJRSM on August 31, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

I did read the Barnett post, there were good observations in it about his read that it's unlikely that HH and others on the bellows of the mighty Wurlitzer could make a credible case that the "poo" will end up on anybody but GwB. I would question his belief that Syria, Baathists in control, is an Iranian proxy. Assad will go where the most advantage will accrue to him. Maybe that's with Iran, maybe not.
His contention that recent strategic mistakes by GwB are the most serious is moot. His guess being as good as anyone's.

GwB has screwed the Republicans for a generation or more. Even if HrC gets the nomination, the Independents are gone from the Republican camp for a long time. Since Rudy or Fred or Mitt will end up with the R nomination, I'd say that's a good thing.

Posted by: TJM on August 31, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

No Manson, the poo is coming from your side. The only reason why anyone might think the Democrats are at fault for this clusterfuck is because people like you are trying to tell it that way. And the passive aggressive "question" is just one of the more subtil ways that's done.

In the minds of thinking people, there can be no question that this occupation, started by a Republican with a Republican Congress and given all they wanted by the Democrats, and its consequences are the fault of the Republicans. If genocide does occur it will have a single cause - the Republican conquest of Iraq. Any other version is a gross distortion of history.

Barnett's article ignores the real problem: there was never any reason for Bush to assault the Iraqi people. It did nothing for our national security, it wasn't done with the interests of the Iraqis in mind, and it wasn't done to promote world peace.

That's the real reason why no one wanted to go along with the invasion of Poland. Sorry, Iraq. It was a stupid idea put forth by stupid people and supported by, well, morons.

Posted by: heavy on August 31, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

The fault for whatever happens in Iraq, good or bad, is entirely Bush's and his supporting cast of characters. He's had over four years, getting everything he asked for, to do whatever he wanted to do. Those of us who thought from the start that the whole adventure was wrong, if not doomed to failure as well, are not to blame for wanting to end what is turning out to be a colossal mistake.

Posted by: Nemo on August 31, 2007 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

"The fault for whatever happens in Iraq, good or bad, is entirely Bush's and his supporting cast..."

That's the difference between Dems and Repubs. Repubs think it was Saddam Hussein's fault.

Posted by: minion on August 31, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

BETRAYUS = WESTMORELAND

Posted by: albertchampion on August 31, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

That's the difference between Dems and Repubs.

Yes, Democrats live in the real world and Republicans are deluded childish fantasists.

Repubs think it was Saddam Hussein's fault.

Saddam Hussein invaded Iraq? Who knew! And here all along I thought it was George Bush who did it.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Shortstop, you live here in an echo chamber, and what you take as chiseled in stone gospel will be in play come time for the genocide.

But what about all the painted schools! And the Splurge!

Really, it's too bad none of you Bushlickers could give a thought to the consequences of your pathetic morbid warmongering to the Iraqi people before you chose to attack Iraq on a whim and a prayer.

Hell's too warm for you. Let's hope you all suffer in a cold cold place.

Posted by: Stefan on August 31, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Petraeus is wasted in the Army where he's done nothing but screw up, Iraq-wise. However, he could kick butt at Young & Rubicam.

Posted by: Helena Montana on August 31, 2007 at 8:44 PM | PERMALINK

Repubs think it was Saddam Hussein's fault.

Because he couldn't prove a negative? Really?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 31, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

it's too bad none of you Bushlickers...

You know, I am afraid this visual has simply ruined the fine art of cunnilingus for me. May you burn in hell for that offense.

Posted by: just another internet porn star... on August 31, 2007 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

The public be damned!

No matter that the public wants the troops home. That's not going to happen because those in power are not listening to the public. From an electoral standpoint, they figure voters are a bunch of nerds who can be easily manipulated on certain hot-button issues they have devised which have nothing to do with anything else. Republicans figure, for instance, that they'll win enough votes on abortion to carry them through any loss on Iraq. (This despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court now has a majority of conservative Catholic judges who could overturn abortion at any time and thus render the issue moot. The interesting thing is why they won't.)

Republicans know that they'll get the big racist Dixiecrat vote in the South, the rural Midwest and near West, no matter Iraq, home loan foreclosurers, public toilet sex scandals, corruption in Homeland Security, Gonzales, whatever. This tidy vote means they have only to win in a couple of battleground states to take the presidency and the Congress.

The Republicans more than likely are wrong but perhaps not.

We'll see.

The public be damned!

Posted by: publicbedamned on August 31, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

http://hometownbaghdad.com/2007/06/13/episode-37-0f-38-one-of-thousands/

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on August 31, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

SJRSM: Arguably, the decisive battle is for the people’s minds; hence synchronizing IO with efforts along the other LLOs is critical.

True. And you can stretch the concept of IO against the enemy and their supporters to IO against anyone who does not support the mission--including citizens of the US. However, while drumming up domestic support for the mission could be considered an extension of IO, that's a big stretch and a very slippery slope.

In any case, generating domestic support is properly the job of the civilian leadership, not the military. But because the administration has failed so miserably at generating that support, the job appears to have been handed to Petraeus. A job he appears to have taken on with gusto.

It does disgust me to watch the mud flung at Petraeus now there is a chance he might not have 100% good news for the anti-war side

If Petraeus gets hit with mud, it's because he has apparently willingly stepped into the political arena. As much as one might admire his military capabilities (which I think are good), they have little relevance, and provide no defense, in that arena. If Patreaus exits the political arena, I will stand down from criticizing his political activities.

Posted by: has407 on September 1, 2007 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Really? Burn in hell? After I fought in the first Iraq war, over Kosovo, and Op Southern Watch in defense of my country? While you hang out in NY reaping huge untaxed profits in the hedge fund market which you are always too chicken shit to comment on here when it comes up? Coward.

Here's a list of other people that thought the way I did back in 2002-2003. Room for them in hell too? One of them might be our next President. Some excerpts...

A joint resolution to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq.

Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Biden (D-DE), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Breaux (D-LA), Yea
Cantwell (D-WA), Yea
Carnahan (D-MO), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Cleland (D-GA), Yea
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
Daschle (D-SD), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Yea
Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Edwards (D-NC), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Helms (R-NC), Yea
Hollings (D-SC), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lieberman (D-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Miller (D-GA), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Reid (D-NV), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Schumer (D-NY), Yea
Torricelli (D-NJ), Yea

Posted by: Swaggering Jingoistic RSM on September 1, 2007 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Is this like a Bishop Berkeley sort of question?

Posted by: Someone Without Class on September 1, 2007 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

"It does disgust me to watch the mud flung at Petraeus now there is a chance he might not have 100% good news for the anti-war side."

LOL.... Nice ad hominem attack against those who disagree with you. What you fail to recognize and deal with is the comments on Petraeus are warranted. His rosy, and woefully incorrect, comments on the situation in Iraq go back four years. He's always been optimistic and he's always been wrong. And given his recent interviews and pronouncements, there is no reason to believe that this pattern of misinformation, whether deliberate or stupid, has ceased.

We already know, beyond all reasonable doubt, that what Petraeus is currently reporting is wrong. When you can deal with that, we might be able to have a serious conversation. So long as you engage in mindless, jingoistic drivel and ad hominem attacks, we cannot.

Posted by: PaulB on September 1, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

"Here's a list of other people that thought the way I did back in 2002-2003."

Dear heart, it's not what you (and they) believe in 2002 that matters; it's the silly games you're playing today. Do try to keep up, won't you?

Posted by: PaulB on September 1, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

"But if it comes, poo is going to be flung."

No shit, Sherlock, just like you're doing here.

"And some of it is going to stick in the eyes of some voters."

Yup, the dead-end 28-percenters like you. The rest of America knows quite well where the blame lies, as every recent poll confirms. The public knows quite well who got us into Iraq and who is keeping us in Iraq. The only blame the Democrats are getting is that they aren't being aggressive enough at getting us out of Iraq. You really should step outside your own echo chamber once in a while.

Posted by: PaulB on September 1, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

The post-facto rewriting of the AUMF has been astonishing. Manson presents us a list and claims that each individual on that list voted for the same reasons he still supports slaughtering the Iraqi people. Someone with a modicum of interest in the truth would have noticed that there were plenty of reasons, that didn't align with his bloodlust, to vote for the AUMF.

Now, even at the time it should have been clear that the Republicans were merely gearing up for the most expensive campaign commercial ever. But some Democrats out of a foolish belief that the Republicans wouldn't play games with national security, some out of a belief that Bush meant it when he said that this was not a blank check to assault the Iraqi people, a few because too many of their constituents are bloodthirsty warmongers, and at least one because he is a bloodthirsty warmonger who never saw a way to kill people he didn't like, voted for the AUMF.

But that's the kind of detail that simpleminded jingos don't care to discuss. It distracts from their RNC approved talking points. Just as they try to spin dropping bombs on people who weren't a threat to the United States as "defending this country."

Manson, when was the last time a foreign power actually attacked the United States? Declared war on us? Killed an American on American soil?

Some of what you did may have been honorable. But it is entirely negated by your cheerleading for genocide in Iraq.

Posted by: heavy on September 1, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Really? Burn in hell? After I fought in the first Iraq war, over Kosovo, and Op Southern Watch in defense of my country?

Jeez, dude, get over yourself! First of all, you aren't the only person to ever serve, and you didn't do anything all by your put-upon self.

Second, I was talking to Stefan for ruining my fun with the visual, I wasn't even talking to you.

It isn't always all about you, you know, even if you did win a couple of wars single handedly.

Posted by: just another internet porn star... on September 1, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Blame Bush. Dissociative Disorder: Dissociative Amnesia--formerly Psychogenic Amnesia.
Depersonalization Disorder.
Detached from, an outside observer....
Trance disorder, episodic disturbances,narrowing of awareness...attributed to the influence of a spirit, power, deity, or other person (Petreus??)

Posted by: consider wisely on September 1, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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